Green Varnish, designed by landscape architecture firm nomad studio, is the first installation of its kind which is located in the courtyard of CAM in Saint Louis, with the aim of completely transforming and altering the space. A green fabric made up of thousands of plants floats in the space, symbolically covering the inconvenient facts of society. The structure occupies approximately 200 square metres and has turned the courtyard into an exuberant sculpture filled with life. It is a natural tapestry which plays with the architectural space, while provoking it. This project has been directed by William E. Roberts and Laura Santín, founding Partners of nomad studio, known for its intuitive approach of combining contemporary art and design with natural elements. Their work, which has been internationally awarded, has mainly focused on projects closely related to the social and environmental impact of landscape architecture.
With Green Varnish, nomad studio explores the necessity of hiding inconvenient realities with politically correct beauty. A spectacular green fabric elegantly floats over the floor of the museum’s courtyard. With this installation, William and Laura reflect on society’s tendency to ignore and hide any relevant information which represents an inconvenience. In this specific case, on how our lifestyle is altering natural systems. We live in denial within vanishing landscapes, refusing to accept reality. Landscapes are gradually ceasing to be operative in their ecological structures and therefore, will transition into a completely different landscape in search of a new ecological order.
For William and Laura: “Deep inside the collective awareness, it is clear we need to overcome major changes in order to cope with climate change. Currently, our response is completely reactionary and we mainly express it in two different manners: pure rejection or some form of green shift that enables us to continue business as usual.”
With Green Varnish nomad studio is making an ironic gesture towards the ‘greening’ trend camouflaged beneath the mantra of sustainability, resilience and other words which are often abused in the current world of design.
Nomad studio is in process of preparing the second act of this project, which will be installed in May of 2016 and occupy the courtyard until September 2016. The studio has conceived this project as a work in two acts and this new installation will converse with the first act to provide continuity to the initial message.
Green Varnish explores the necessity of hiding inconvenient realities with politically correct beauty. A large green fabric elegantly covers any inappropriate fact. We ignore information which bothers us. It is admirable how reactionary we are towards information that brings implicit changes. We have obviously lost perspective of our role within this large system of life in which we belong. Life is change and we endeavor to remain unchanged. Flexibility, adaptability and diversity are key aspects of a resilient system; a system in dynamic equilibrium. Our landscapes, the intricate relationships between culture and territory, denote a certain degree of rigidity in adaptability and fragmentation. Hence, they are unbalanced landscapes, condemned to intensive restructuring.
We live in denial within vanishing landscapes, refusing to accept reality. Landscapes are gradually ceasing to be operative in their ecological structures and therefore, will transition into a completely different landscape in search of a new ecological order. However, inside the collective awareness it is clear we need to overcome those major changes. Currently, our response is completely reactionary and we mainly express it in two different manners: pure rejection or some form of green shift that enables us to continue business as usual. We completely depend on natural systems and their environmental services. These services are provided by a network of complex relations. This natural system self-regulates, as if its function was to sustain life. Human activities are altering the self-regulating capacity of the Earth to a point of no return. We could continue ignoring the facts. We would like to invite you to apply a green varnish to your life-style, and keep going. Why not?
Location: Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis (CAM).
Landscape Architecture: Nomad Studio
Consultants: Iria Perez and Assoc., LIA Engineering
Assembly Team: Collab – Portico, Green Roof Blocks.
Credits: All photographs and graphics have their credits associated. If they are not included, write courtesy of nomad studio and Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis.